On This Day...

Madhouse History

On This Day in Madhouse History
May 5, 1981

Hard Promises is the fourth studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released on May 5, 1981 on Backstreet Records.

The album features guest vocals from Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac on the duet "Insider". The Heartbreakers also recorded the hit "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" for Nicks' album Bella Donna around the time Hard Promises was recorded.

The album peaked at #5 on the U.S charts and was certified platinum. The Waiting" was the lead single. The song peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and #1 on the magazine's new Rock Tracks chart, where it remained for six consecutive weeks during the summer of 1981.

"A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)" was the second single. It peaked at number 79 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The album's release was delayed while Petty and his distributor MCA Records argued about the list price. The album was slated to be the next MCA release with the new list price of $9.98, following Steely Dan's Gaucho and the Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu soundtrack. This so-called "superstar pricing" was $1.00 more than the usual list price of $8.98. Petty voiced his objections to the price hike in the press and the issue became a popular cause among music fans. Non-delivery of the album or naming it Eight Ninety-Eight were considered, but eventually MCA decided against the price increase.

"A lot of fans have been with us for a long time and I think they trust us," Petty told The New York Times regarding the subsequent standoff. "MCA has done a great job selling our records, but they couldn't see the reality of what it's like on the street — they couldn't see that raising the album's price wouldn't be fair." Win one for the little man. Tom Petty is a hero.

The album was produced by Jimmy Iovine and was recorded at Sound City Studios as well as others in California.

Track Listing
Side One
1. "The Waiting"   3:58
2. "A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)" Petty, Mike Campbell 4:22
3. "Nightwatchman" Petty, Campbell 3:59
4. "Something Big"   4:44
5. "Kings Road"

Side Two
6. "Letting You Go"   3:24
7. "A Thing About You"   3:33
8. "Insider"   4:23
9. "The Criminal Kind"   4:00
10. "You Can Still Change Your Mind"

Tom Petty – lead and backing vocals, guitar (acoustic, electric, 12-string, bass on "Something Big"), electric piano on "Something Big"
Mike Campbell – guitars (acoustic, electric, 12-string, bass), auto-harp, accordion, harmonium
Benmont Tench – organ, piano, backing vocals
Ron Blair – bass guitar
Stan Lynch – drums, backing vocals

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